© Still from YouTube video/AntarcticSurvey
A new type of 3D mapping revealed Antarctic sea ice could be much thicker than previously estimated, shows a study done with the help of a yellow robotic submarine named SeaBed
The new study
, published in Nature Geoscience
, showed that average ice thickness in Antarctica is between 1.4 meters and 5.5 meters. The maximum thickness recorded was 17 meters
Also, 76 percent of the mapped ice has been tagged as 'deformed,' the study stated, which means that ice crashed together, forming a thicker layers of ice.
"Our surveys indicate that the floes are much thicker and more deformed than reported by most drilling and ship-based measurements of Antarctic sea ice
," states the study. "We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in situ assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought."
SeaBed robot has been involved in two expeditions in Antarctica with scientists from the UK, the US and Australia. The yellow robot is an autonomous underwater vehicle (or AUV) equipped with upward-looking sonar to measure and map the underwater sea ice.
The two-meter robot moved in a "lawnmower" pattern so as not to miss any areas and bounced sound waves off the under-surface of the ice to make its estimates.
Two expeditions took place in 2010 and 2012 and included regions of Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land.